Academic journal article Journal of Social and Psychological Sciences

Attachment and Grit: Exploring Possible Contributions of Attachment Styles (from Past and Present Life) to the Adult Personality Construct of Grit

Academic journal article Journal of Social and Psychological Sciences

Attachment and Grit: Exploring Possible Contributions of Attachment Styles (from Past and Present Life) to the Adult Personality Construct of Grit

Article excerpt


A newly conceptualized personality trait known as grit (Duckworth et al., 2007) has been recently validated to have significant long-term impacts on perseverance and resolve. Past research surrounding grit has focused largely on its relation to the 'Big Five' Consciousness as applied to trainees at the West Point, a U.S. Military Academy. Grit studies thus far (Duckworth, 2007) have been informative and illuminating; however, the questions as to what attributes or elements are likely to create the 'gritty individual' have not yet been systematically investigated, even in a correlational design such as that which informed the current report. Grit is defined as "perseverance and passion for long-term goals"-(Duckworth 2007). Because personality is largely formed during the years of attachment, it is imperative that such a relationship is explored in depth. The present research on the correlation between childhood-attachment styles and grit has yielded dynamic results. Fundamental connections have been observed which may help bridge the gaps concerning the process and formation of this newly identified personality characteristic. This study will examine the research and address the links between grit and attachment styles.

Literature Review

Duckworth et al., (2007) questioned why some individuals accomplish more than others of equal intelligence. They postulated that certain characteristics (cognitive ability, creativity, vigor, emotional intelligence, charisma, self-confidence, emotional stability & physical attractiveness) are likely characteristics of high achieving individuals. Additionally, they suggested that some of the 'Big Five' dimensions might be relevant and necessary for some careers but not others (ex. extraversion for a salesperson, though, irrelevant to a creative writer). Might there be a more-or-less separate 6th dimension of personality that is associated with success across a wide range of careers?

Pioneering researchers, Duckworth et al., (2007) thought so, and introduced the concept of grit. Grit is defined as "perseverance and passion for long-term goals" (Duckworth 2007, p. 1087). According to Duckworth et al., (2007) grit entails working persistently toward challenges, upholding effort and concentration over years throughout hardships, setbacks and stagnancy. Gritty individuals view achievement as a long-term process; their lead is endurance, determination and stamina. Disappointment and/or boredom may indicate to many that is it time to modify one's trajectory, whereas gritty persons continue on track (Duckworth et al., 2007). Gritty individuals sustain this effort and concentration over many years despite disappointments, failures and hardships while in development of their goal. The gritty individual characteristically finishes tasks at hand and pursues long-term goals.

Thus, Duckworth et al. (2007) ascertained a two-factor structure for a 12-item self-report measure of grit. This configuration was consistent with the premise of grit as a multifarious trait encompassing stamina in dimensions of interest and effort (Duckworth et al., 2007). They observed that grit was distributed and shared by the most prominent and successful leaders in every field.

Although all of these findings are imperative, critical and pertinent, searching for the underlying factors of success is of equal importance. The purpose of this study was to explore and determine some likely foundations of grit, enlarging the focus from the individual personality to his or her thoughts and feelings about close personal relationships in the past (childhood) and in the present (vis-a-vis romantic adult relationships).

Adults' recollections of their childhood relations with parents

Retrospectively, many adults with anxiety disorders report a childhood of affectionless control, comprised of coldness and overprotective parent behavior (Gerlsma et al. …

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